Gary H. Tollefsen


Last updated 3/1/2023 at 1:50pm

Gary H. Tollefsen

Gary H. Tollefsen died February 14th, 2023, at the age of 87.

Gary Tollefsen, better known as Mr. T to most, especially his students, was a husband, father, grandfather, professional musician, trumpet player, and music teacher.

Gary was born and reared in Spokane, graduated from West Valley H. S. He was discovered by Rafael Mendez who gave Gary private lessons and he recorded a trumpet duet with Gary, who was only 15 years old at the time. He later, attended EWU, was accepted into the US air force band, and married his high school sweetheart, Sandy. Gary taught music/band and baton twirling at schools in Lincoln County and Grand Coulee and gave private lessons throughout eastern and western Washington over his lifetime until the last few months before his passing. Many of his students moved on to wonderful careers of their own in music orchestras, bands, as solo performers, and in other music professions.

Gary and Sandy enjoyed 59 years of marriage, had six children, and four grandchildren. Sadly, they lost two children, Scott, at 10 weeks old, and Larry, at 27 years old. Gary had to live his last few years without the love of his life, Sandy, as she passed in 2017. Gary is survived by four of his children; Kent, Bob, Paula, and Stan, and four grandchildren; Brandon, Brian, Julian, and Violet.

See for future announcement of memorial.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may also be shared at for Gary's family.

Strate Funeral Home of Grand Coulee, Washington is caring for his family.


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